‘Tis the season for peace, joy and kindness. Unfortunately, some folks don’t appear to be getting the memo. Between Fox News and their holiday opining on skin color and the New York Post’s inappropriate attacks on the President of the United States for having the audacity to have his picture taken with a female world leader, it’s starting to sound like some of the media is hitting the eggnog hard. Politicians, sadly, aren’t doing much better, either, when it comes to racist public statements.
It’s a big week for total racism. Here are four comments it’s hard to believe people actually said this week:
1) “Jesus (and Santa) were white men.” That declaration came from Fox News television show host Megyn Kelly, who wanted the little children to be absolutely certain about the racial identities of two big figures at this time of year. Kelly was reacting to a Slate column that was explaining what it was like to grow up with the assumption that Santa Claus was always a Caucasian; the thought experiment sent the host into a rage. ”Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. But you know it’s like we have — he was a historical figure, I mean that’s a verifiable fact. As is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.”
Of course, no, Jesus wasn’t white. And Santa isn’t real. Sorry, kids.
2) “I’m like Abraham Lincoln, but instead of freeing slaves I’m busting unions.” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is many, many things, but this generation’s Abraham Lincoln isn’t one of them. That didn’t stop the governor from making a comparison between his new book focusing only on Act 10, the controversial union-busting bill of 2010, and Steven Spielberg only using the story of the 13th Amendment in his movie “Lincoln.”
“[T]his is not the comprehensive review of Scott Walker’s life and career, this is really the story of our reforms, which are unique to Wisconsin, which is a story I thought would be interesting,” he said in an interview, according to The Progressive. ”The same reason, similar reason I should say, not the same, to when Steven Spielberg made the movie Lincoln, he didn’t take the book Team of Rivals and cover the whole book, he took a piece of it, the 13th amendment, which was one of the more compelling parts of that book and made that into the movie– that’s what we did with the book, we took one part that we thought was the most compelling and most interesting to the people in this state, to the people in this country.”
It’s a pretty bold step to compare eliminating worker protections to ending slavery. Yet not only does Governor Walker feel comfortable making that comparison, he seems to have few qualms about usurping that legacy for his own pro-corporate, big business agenda. A big business that has grown exponentially hostile to people of color in recent years.
3) “Desegregation ruined schools.” Wayne Coleman is running for state senate in Virginia. Diversity training is obviously not in his background. When asked what he planned to do to address the state’s failing schools, Coleman replied, “I’m old enough to have lived during the desegregation of the schools here locally. And busing children, in my opinion, around the different districts, getting them out of their local neighborhoods, really was the beginning of the decline in some of the school districts.” Coleman, after receiving flack, said his remarks weren’t racist. It was just that he meant kids will do better when they are at a school near their homes. No doubt especially if that home is an affluent neighborhood and everyone else is kept out of it.
4) “The Danish ‘Hellcat,’ the philandering President, and the angry wife.” Conservatives are calling it an “international incident.” MSNBC pundits, meanwhile, note that criticism of the “selfie” seen round the world, which involved British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is more than tinged with racism, too. According to Mediaite: ”MSNBC.com reporter Irin Carmon blasted the selective focus on some photographs of the ‘selfie’ moment for elevating a ‘confluence of racist and sexist stereotypes.’ She said that the focus on first lady Michelle Obama scowling presented her as an ‘angry black woman’ while the suggestion that the president was flirting with the female Danish prime minister presented him as the ‘oversexed black man.’”
If you don’t believe that analysis, read a little of the New York Post’s column by Andrea Peyser, where she calls the Danish Prime Minister a “hellcat” in black pantyhose and accused the President of leaning in to feel her “body heat.” “Thorning-Schmidt placed her hands dangerously close to Obama’s side,” relishes Peysner in glorific, Harlequin romance detail.
It should be noted that the photographer who took the picture said there was absolutely nothing going on.
Photo Credit: Thinkstcok